We simply can no longer sit back and react with a “tsk tsk,” a “Mamma Mia,” or a shake of the head and then go about our own business, when some of our co-ethnics contribute to negative imagery of Italians and Italian Americans.
Over the past forty years, from high-school teaching to the university, and into the community, working within Italian Studies has had it challenges, to be sure. In spite of the grandeurs of Italian culture over the past 800-plus years, it seems that we often find ourselves in an up-hill battle.
I wrote about one thing on the Calandra Institute list-serve (the Arizona Ethnic Studies Bill), and, among the many responses, people spoke to another issue, as you can see below. Ben venga! I thought this might be a better forum in which to continue that discussion that was spontaneously born.
I also believe that we still live willy nilly in that ever-so, never-mentioned world of Hyphenville, as I wrote in an essay more than twenty years ago that was, for that time, courageously published by Guernica Editions.
As we look at Italy's contemporary immigration policies and the resultant challenges, we sometimes muse that, had Italy studied more profoundly its own historical emigration, perhaps it might better comprehend (read, be more sensitive to) its current situation. Now, as we ponder Bassetti's notion of Italicity, we might actually engage in an even exchange or sorts, and learn something from Italy in similar regard.
Save the Date!
Book Presentation of "Italic Lessons".
April 20, 6 PM, Calandra Institute.
Panelists include: Francesco Maria Talò, Niccolò D'Aquino, Anthony J. Tamburri, Peter Carravetta, Mario Mignone, Gianpaolo Pioli, Stefano Vaccara, Letizia Airos.
Send your questions&comments to [email protected] We'll submit them to Piero Bassetti during the conference!
This colloquium is not about the MTV show “Jersey Shore” and it does not justify it in any manner. This colloquium is about the phenomenon of the “Guido” that, regardless of its merits or lack thereof, has its origins and is associated with Italians in America.
Whether one likes it or not, this component of Italian-American youth—an articulation of cultural expression, call it what one wishes—does exist.
We are not asking anyone “to accept” this or any other “sub-culture” that may exist in the Italian-American community. Yet, precisely because this culture has been show-cased on television, and precisely because it has remained unknown to many, we need to be sure that we can speak to it in an informed manner.
We simply need to do more. Much as we have made overall progress in the diffusion and representation of Italian and Italian/American culture and history in the United States, we need to keep on trucking, as we used to say in thew 1960s!